Fire chief explains fines for fire-lane parking violations

PAYMENTS for fire-lane violations are not being received by enforcement officers on the scene, according to Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services Commissioner Clyde K.  Norita.

Payments for towing, impoundment fees and fire-lane infractions can be made at the CNMI Treasury cashier branches, he added.

For a parking-lane infractions, the fee is $150; towing, $220; and impoundment, $20 per day.

Clyde NoritaClyde Norita

Enforcement personnel take photos of the fire-lane violations as evidence, Norita said.

He added that there are other costs related to the citation, like having the vehicle released on a Saturday or over the weekend in the evening.

During the weekend, personnel charges are included in the fee, he said.

A fire officer’s time is $35 an hour and a minimum of two hours is needed for a fire officer to process the release of a vehicle, Norita added.

 He said the fire department does not handle payment of towing or impoundment fees except when the vehicle owner wants the car released on a weekend.

“If your car is towed on Friday evening and you want your car released on a Saturday, we can process that release but on condition that you pay by money order or cashier’s check made out to the CNMI Treasury,” Norita said.

He said fire department personnel take no cash or credit cards after business hours.

“When you pay the fees, the fire department will give you a document for release. You take it to the impound and they release your car,” he added.

“During regular working days, come to the Susupe fire station and we will tell you how much you need to pay to release your car. Go to the Treasury, come back with a receipt from the Treasury and we will release your car.”

DFEMS implemented the fire-lane regulations in Garapan on March 2, 2018 and as of  last weekend, a total of 54 vehicles had been cited and towed, Norita said.

Of the 54 vehicles that were towed and impounded, all are now out of impound.  “Most of the [drivers] just pay for the citation,” he said noting that a majority of those cited were tourists.

Norita said the fire department is only enforcing fire-lane regulations. “We don’t give tickets for illegal parking — that is in the purview of the Department of Public Safety.”

Norita said they expect negative and positive reactions to the implementation of the fire-lane rules.

“We took away parking spaces that people were used to so it’s an issue of behavior change. There are firelanes now and people have to park somewhere else. It’s an inconvenience, but I always say that fire safety, life safety trumps convenience.”

He added that they are currently working with and encouraging car-rental establishments to inform their customers about the fire-lane regulations.

“At the end of the day it’s not the tourists who will have a problem — it’s going to be car-rental owners.  So they will benefit from working with us, and they understand that.”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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